June 18, 2009

No fuzz in "Vine"

Though it started off with little trouble with signing in running smooth now.

The most funny part is that "BING" doesn't recognizes whats 'VINE' (
check here) but Google does (here) . May be "Because Its Not Google" . LOL.

Will explore more and update later:





June 15, 2009

Acrobat.com Unleashed


Adobe has released their new set tools for building documents collaboratively online. It will try to eat a pie from Microsoft and Google, who already have big plans in this segment.

I wasn't able to try them as of now, because it doesn't have a support for Firefox 3.5 or Crome.




May 14, 2009

May 12, 2009

Wolfram Alpha: The Next Big Thing !


Wolfram Alpha is almost ready to rock the world. Being the next big thing in the search arena, comparison to Google was inevitable, but as of now it is not being considered as "Google Killer". This all new "Answers Engine" is one of the most awaited launches scheduled in May.

Here is a snippet of an interesting article published on Twine by Nova Spivack which answers the 5W and H of Wolfram Alpha.

----------------------------------------------------------------

Stephen Wolfram is building something new — and it is really impressive and significant. In fact it may be as important for the Web (and the world) as Google, but for a different purpose.

A Computational Knowledge Engine for the Web

In a nutshell, Wolfram and his team have built what he calls a “computational knowledge engine” for the Web. OK, so what does that really mean? Basically it means that you can ask it factual questions and it computes answers for you.

It doesn’t simply return documents that (might) contain the answers, like Google does, and it isn’t just a giant database of knowledge, like the Wikipedia. It doesn’t simply parse natural language and then use that to retrieve documents, like Powerset, for example. Instead, Wolfram Alpha actually computes the answers to a wide range of questions — like questions that have factual answers such as “What country is Timbuktu in?” or “How many protons are in a hydrogen atom?” or “What is the average rainfall in Seattle?”


How Does it Work?

Wolfram Alpha is a system for computing the answers to questions. To accomplish this it uses built-in models of fields of knowledge, complete with data and algorithms, that represent real-world knowledge. For example, it contains formal models of much of what we know about science — massive amounts of data about various physical laws and properties, as well as data about the physical world.

Building Blocks for Knowledge Computing

Wolfram Alpha is almost more of an engineering accomplishment than a scientific one — Wolfram has broken down the set of factual questions we might ask, and the computational models and data necessary for answering them, into basic building blocks — a kind of basic language for knowledge computing if you will. Then, with these building blocks in hand his system is able to compute with them — to break down questions into the basic building blocks and computations necessary to answer them, and then to actually build up computations and compute the answers on the fly.

Wolfram’s team manually entered, and in some cases automatically pulled in, masses of raw factual data about various fields of knowledge, plus models and algorithms for doing computations with the data. By building all of this in a modular fashion on top of the Mathematica engine, they have built a system that is able to actually do computations over vast data sets representing real-world knowledge. More importantly, it enables anyone to easily construct their own computations — simply by asking questions.


How Smart is it and Will it Take Over the World?

Wolfram Alpha is like plugging into a vast electronic brain. It provides extremely impressive and thorough answers to a wide range of questions asked in many different ways, and it computes answers, it doesn’t merely look them up in a big database.

In this respect it is vastly smarter than (and different from) Google. Google simply retrieves documents based on keyword searches. Google doesn’t understand the question or the answer, and doesn’t compute answers based on models of various fields of human knowledge.

But as intelligent as it seems, Wolfram Alpha is not HAL 9000, and it wasn’t intended to be. It doesn’t have a sense of self or opinions or feelings. It’s not artificial intelligence in the sense of being a simulation of a human mind. Instead, it is a system that has been engineered to provide really rich knowledge about human knowledge — it’s a very powerful calculator that doesn’t just work for math problems — it works for many other kinds of questions that have unambiguous (computable) answers.


There is no risk of Wolfram Alpha becoming too smart, or taking over the world. It’s good at answering factual questions; it’s a computing machine, a tool — not a mind.


Relationship to the Semantic Web

There is no reason that one MUST use the Semantic Web stack to build something like Wolfram Alpha. In fact, in my opinion it would be far too difficult to try to explicitly represent everything Wolfram Alpha knows and can compute using OWL ontologies. It is too wide a range of human knowledge and giant OWL ontologies are just too difficult to build and curate.

It would of course at some point be beneficial to integrate with the Semantic Web so that the knowledge in Wolfram Alpha could be accessed, linked with, and reasoned with, by other semantic applications on the Web, and perhaps to make it easier to pull knowledge in from outside as well. In this area, the standards of the Semantic Web could be quite useful to the project.

However for the internal knowledge representation and reasoning that takes places in the system, it appears Wolfram has found a pragmatic and efficient representation of his own, and I don’t think he needs the Semantic Web at that level. It seems to be doing just fine without it.


Competition

Wolfram Alpha, at its heart is quite different from a brute force statistical search engine like Google. And it is not going to replace Google — it is not a general search engine: You would probably not use Wolfram Alpha to shop for a new car, find blog posts about a topic, or to choose a resort for your honeymoon. It is not a system that will understand the nuances of what you consider to be the perfect romantic getaway, for example — there is still no substitute for manual human-guided search for that. Where it appears to excel is when you want facts about something, or when you need to compute a factual answer to some set of questions about factual data.

Future Steps

Maybe Wolfram Alpha could even do a better job of retrieving documents than Google, for certain kinds of questions — by first understanding what you really want, then computing the answer, and then giving you links to documents that related to the answer. But even if it is never applied to document retrieval, I think it has the potential to play a leading role in all our daily lives — it could function like a kind of expert assistant, with all the facts and computational power in the world at our fingertips.


----------------------------------------------------------------

May 8, 2009

Exploring Shiretoko

After three initial beta releases under the Firefox 3.1, Mozilla developers decided to change the numbering of this release to version 3.5, to reflect a significantly greater scope of changes than was originally planned.



Firefox 3.5 Beta 4, codenamed Shiretoko, is the sixth development milestone and fourth beta release of Firefox 3.5. Based on the Gecko 1.9.1 rendering platform, which has been under development for the past 10 months, Firefox 3.5 offers many changes over the previous version, supporting new web technologies, improving performance and ease of use, and adding new features for users.



New Features:

- This beta is now available in 70 languages
- Improved tools for controlling private data, including a Private Browsing Mode.
- Better performance and stability with the new TraceMonkey JavaScript engine.
- The ability to provide Location Aware Browsing using web standards for geolocation.
- Support for native JSON, and web worker threads.
- Improvements to the Gecko layout engine, including speculative parsing for faster content rendering. Support for new web technologies such as: HTML5


Known bugs:


All Systems
- Occasionally Google Mail will fail to respond when creating a new filter, showing advanced search options, or clearing the spam folder. Reloading Google Mail fixes the issue
- Some users with older computers or slower Internet connections may experience choppy OGG video/audio playback
- Users who run this beta, then downgrade to a previous Firefox 3.5 Alpha or Beta, will be unable to use stored passwords
- If you have set your preferences to clear your browsing history every time Firefox shuts down, it will also clear history when you restart after installing an add-on or theme. This is unintentional and will be fixed
- The default settings for clearing your recent history every time Firefox shuts down now include removing your cookies
- The "switch text direction" menu item has been removed from the context menu in locales that use left-to-right reading order languages.

Microsoft Windows
- Pressing enter in the Location Bar will not do anything if you are running AVG SafeSearch v8.0 or lower. Upgrading AVG SafeSearch fixes the problem

Firefox 3.5 Beta 4 can be downloaded from here.

April 30, 2009

Web Innovation Conference 2009

Yesterday I attended the Web Innovation Conference 2009 (Gurgaon) organized by TFCI. One of the major attraction of the event was the diverse and monolithic agenda, covering almost all the buzz words of the World Wide Web. With terabytes of information to be shared, speakers tried their best to convey the message within a short stipulated time period.

Projects as “The maiden Web Innovation event to connect the architects and builders of the web with the brightest minds, hottest concepts, and nextgen killer tools and applications”, I guess it did fairly well to achieve its objective.

Still have doubts, check out the agenda below


Theme Address:
Mohit Hira , President eLearning (Retail) – NIIT

Digital Advertising Concepts & Best Practices
Parminder Singh, Business Head - Google India

True Cloud: Build your IT Infrastructure on the Cloud
Jayabalan S, CTO - Netmagic Solutions

WEB 2.0 - Fundamentals for creating online products, services & business models
Jayabalan S, CTO - Netmagic Solutions
Sanjay Aggarwal, GM Operations - Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation

Investment Themes On The Internet
Alok Mittal, Managing Director - Canaan Partners
Ritesh Banglani, Vice President - IDG Ventures India

Emerging landscape of Web 2.0. and Sneak Peek into Web 3.0
Sanjay Trehan, COO - NDTV Convergence

Top 10 Best Practices of Successful Digital Advertising
Anil Tirunagiri - Google india

Save Capex - Reduce Opex - the Cloud Computing way
Nitin Mishra - Head, Product Management - Netmagic Solutions

SEO: Marketing or Technology?
Pradeep Chopra, Co-Founder & CMO - Omlogic

Enterprise RIA
Ramesh Srinivasaraghavan, Sr. Computer Scientist & Evangelist - Adobe India

E-Commerce in Web 2.0 Era
Sanjay Aggarwal, GM Operations - Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation

Consumer 2.0: How Web 2.0 is Changing Moods, Metrics, & Monetization
Harish Bahl, CEO - Studio Smile

Web 2.0 means Business
Nikhil Sarup, Sr. Vice President - Digital Marketing - Solutions Digitas

How brands can influence consumer behavior in a 2.0 World
Sandeep Bansal, Director - BD - eBusiness Interactive

Successful Social Media Strategies for Corporates
Kiruba Shankar, CEO - Business Blogging

Establishing Trust Online
Rakesh Antala, Co-Founder & CEO, Crederity Inc.

User Driven Product Strategy
Satyajeet Singh, Product Manager, Naukri.com


Since I reached a little late (thanks to peak hour traffic) I was not able to attend the Mohit's presentation. But some of the important takeaways that I could note down from the discussions were:
  • Sometimes "the media becomes the message”
  • To reduce online fraud, track some fraudsters and take stringent action against them to set an example
  • Cloud computing can be very useful for startups
  • Promising areas in the Internet are : Ecommerce, Education, Financial Services, Entertainment
  • Strength of an Internet company is determined by its "Product Strategy” and “Cost of acquiring & retaining traffic”
  • Pure advertising based model may not work in India for some more time
  • Local language market will grow slow
  • Semantic web will be mainstream by 2012
  • Social Media can be a boon and bane for Companies, so it’s important to have a presence in Social Media.
  • To improve traffic, first identify the major source of traffic
  • Online marking should be handled by Marketing team not technology
  • 60% of people research online but buy offline
  • 1% of the user contribute in building content, 9% get involved in community service and remaining 90% just download it.
  • Interaction of a B2B site should be like we do in person. Since we do not start forced selling in the first meeting, same should be done on site.
  • Most of the major internet companies (including social networking giants) are evaluating ways for authenticating credentials of users.
  • My presentation can be accessed from slide share


Overall, good experience :)

April 9, 2009

Survey

Hey,

I am working on a small research project. It would be great if you can take this survey and share your opinion.

http://bit.ly/Lhpe

Thanks for your help.

April 6, 2009

IndiBlogger Meet

Another weekend, another unconference. This time it was a Blogger Meet organized by IndiBlogger. The event was hosted and sponsored by Microsoft (Gurgaon).


I have noticed that all the conferences these days begin with a hash code, and this one had: # indincr. Also a funny thing about this blogger meet was that there were more Tweeters than Bloggers here.

We started the conference with a little intro from IndiBlogger team and attendees, and I realized that most of the entrepreneurs were byproduct of a bad boss. No wonder why I am still working for someone else (boss I hope you are reading this :)


But the main reason, for me being there was a presentation by Microsoft “Internet Explorer 8: First Look”. Though it wasn’t a first look for me because I have been using IE 8 for more than a year now . But I wanted to see how a person from Microsoft tackles so many Firefox fans sitting there (some were even wearing Firefox T-Shirts).

The presentation was given by Abishek Kant and I must admit he did an excellent work in handling questions like “What is the USP of IE 8”, “What is original in IE8” etc. And he was candid enough to express that the main objective of his presentation was to spread awareness about IE8 and not to compare it with any other browser.


Some of the points that he covered during his presentation:


Accelerators:
These are a form of selection-based search which allow a user to invoke an online service from any other page using only the mouse.

Web Slices:

These are snippets of the entire page that a user can subscribe to. Web Slices will be kept updated by the browser automatically, and can be viewed directly from the Favorites bar, complete with graphics and visuals.

Smart Screen Filter:
It is mainly an extension of Internet Explorer 7's phishing filter. If a user visits a site which has been labeled as an impostor or harmful, then Internet Explorer 8 will show a screen prompting that the site is reported harmful and shouldn't be visited.

Automatic crash recovery
A crash recovery mechanism has been incorporated; if the browser crashes, web pages being viewed may be recovered, at the user's discretion, when the browser is restarted.

Performance and stability

IE8 improves rendering of content authored to various web standards. It has complete support for the W3C CSS 2.1.

Version Targeting
Since it has stricter adherence to W3C described web standards than Internet Explorer 7. As a result, as in every IE version before it, some percentage of web pages coded to the behavior of the older versions would break in IE8. To avoid this situation, Microsoft proposed Version Targeting whereby a page could be authored to a specific version of a browser using the X-UA-Compatible declaration either as a meta element or in the HTTP headers. A browser with a newer version than what the page has been coded for would emulate the behavior of the older version so that the assumptions the page made about the browser's behavior holds true.


Nothing from the point
s mentioned above will make me switch to IE from Firefox but if you are using IE7 then IE8 makes more sense for you.

We also had Priyanka (better known as Twilight Fairy) giving a very interactive presentation on social media and copyrights. The theme was that every blogger has to be protective of their content and they are responsible for the comments posted on their blog. Some important points mentioned were “If it is on web, it doesn’t mean it’s free to use”, “Linking to illegal content is also illegal” etc.


Over all meet was good (any meet is good if it ends with Pizza ). But unlike Mozcamp Delhi, there were no free IE t-shirts here, another reason to like Firefox :)

April 3, 2009

Yahoo monitoring Twitter by "SideLine"

“Watch, search and monitor the twitter public timeline in real time” is the baseline of Yahoo’s new app for searching and monitoring Twitter. Based on Adobe AIR this desktop application is built using the Yahoo! User Interface Library (YUI) and allows users to create and group custom queries by topics of interest.


Sideline is an open source application released under the BSD license and the first beta is available for download here.

Some of the prominent features (as per Yahoo) include:
  • Advanced search query builder
  • Custom search groups
  • Automatic refreshing of defined search queries
  • Monitor trending topics
  • 20% more awesomeness
Being a Kung Fu Panda fan, I like the last one the most. Also because the other top four are very basic functionalities any search app should have.

March 31, 2009

Fennec: The Smaller Fox


Was trying out desktop version of Fennec, the upcoming mobile browser from the makers of Firefox. The name 'Fennec' is based on a small nocturnal Fennec Fox found in the Sahara desert.



The first look seems promising and with options of adding popular Firefox addons, this can be a huge hit (especially for Firefox fans like me).



The desktop version for windows PC can be downloaded from here.

Tips and tricks

  • To use the full screen for browsing, click the button on the left hand side on top of the device (to the left of the -/+ buttons)
  • Swipe left to expose back/forward/bookmark buttons and the URL bar; swipe right to dismiss them
  • Swipe right to expose tabs; swipe left to dismiss them

Known issues

  • Allow panning/scrolling in iframes - Websites that display large amounts of content in IFrames, including Google Mail and Reader, will be very hard, if not impossible, to use.
  • Plugins may not work in some of the desktop builds.

Source : Mozilla.org

March 23, 2009

Bebo in India

You must me thinking that whats the news in this, Bebo has always been in India. But this is not about our size '0' Karina, its about Europe's leading social networking site which has been officially launched in India.

As per
Alootechie, Mr. Nicole Vanderbilt, VP, International, Bebo, is very confident about the success of Bebo in India and consider their "Open Media Platform" as a great differentiator .

Though I have not explored it in detail but something that caught my eye was its registration form. It seems they are targeting a very wide age group. Their dropdown for specifying age starts from 1903 and end at 2009. So it doesn't matter if you are 106 yrs old or yet to arrive in this world, Bebo is for everyone.


Will try to explore more this weekend :)


Noticed another strange thing. They are running ads of Bebo.com on Bebo.com. See the "Advertisement" heading on the right most image. Clicking on it will take you to the registration form. So are they paying for getting registration from their own site. LOLz


February 14, 2009

Interesting Product Review

Warning: Contains profanity



January 13, 2009

The Real "Man" of the Match

On 15 Dec, 2008 India clinched a remarkable test match against England and the "Man of the Match", oh I am sorry, "Player of the Match" award was given to our very own “Maa da Laadla” Virender Sehwag. There were a few who were happy with the decision and some others who thought Sachin was the man behind the historic win.


But in all these controversies we did not notice the real man behind this victory. Who is none other than "Mr. Jammy", Rahul Dravid. No, no, not because of his quick-fire 4 (of 44 balls) in the first innings or the "dependable" fielding efforts, but because of the fact that he got out early (yet again) in the second inning and gave Sachin a minuscule chance to score at an achievable run rate.


Imagine if he would have stayed on the crease for another 20 overs, scoring at a lighting strike-rate of 21 runs every 100 balls faced, even 2 Sachins (at both ends) couldn’t have won it from there.


We need more player like him who first & foremost play for their country, then for their team and then, if possible, for personal milestones (This quote is sponsored by
Red Chillies Entertainment ). What a sacrifice, even at this stage of his career.

Long Live "The Wall".